Talk about a strange week in boxing. Terence Crawford and Amir Khan probably thought they were going to provide the main talking points and then a couple of big stories emerged to blow that notion out of the water. The news that Gennady Golovkin will fight Steve Rolls (no idea either) on June 8 in New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden was quickly submerged by the story that Jarrell Miller failed a drugs test in the lead-up to his June 1 clash with Anthony Joshua. More on Golovkin later.
As for Miller, the Brooklyn motormouth has tested positive for a banned substance. Miller said he would do his best to promote the fight to the lucrative Stateside audience. Well, he’s certainly managed to put his own name, and that of opponent Joshua, right in the public eye. Miller allegedly tested positive for the banned substance “GW1516”, traces of which were discovered in his urine by VADA.
Failing a drug test need not be the end of a fighter’s career in this crazy sport. Alexander Povetkin’s failed test led to him initially being ostracised but later brought back into the boxing fold to box David Price and Anthony Joshua. Interestingly, Deontay Wilder refused to travel to Russia to box Povetkin but did afford another dubious heavyweight, Luis Ortiz, a second chance despite the Cuban getting caught out in the past. Joshua’s hatred for Miller means he is unlikely to extend a similar glove of friendship were Miller to exonerate himself now or further down the line. As the New York State Athletic Commission confirmed that they would be presenting him with a license, “Big Baby” can probably wave goodbye to his big payday.
Michael Hunter’s name has been put forward as a potential Joshua replacement opponent. Adam Kownacki and Trevor Bryant have also been linked. It would be a disaster to see the headliner and/or entire show get scrapped, and remains the least likely scenario.
One week later in the same city, Gennady Golovkin has found himself an opponent in the Rod Salka mould. Toronto’s Steve Rolls currently has a 19-0 record with 10 wins coming by way of stoppage. While that looks good on paper, Rolls is 35 years of age and still considered a prospect, having never stepped up to this type of level before now. DAZN is bringing in a boxer who has boxed only 19 times since turning pro in 2011. Does Rolls’ untainted record make him a more enticing proposition for Golovkin than Brandon Adams or Hassan Ndam, both of whom were dangled in the direction of fans before the unbeaten Canadian rolled into the picture?
The plan is for GGG to box Canelo in a third meeting, sometime towards the end of the year. Canelo needs to get past former Golovkin victim Daniel Jacobs first. Going by that forward-thinking logic you can almost see why they would give Golovkin a seemingly softer touch. It does strike you as the type of matchmaking resemblant of when a boxer is being edged back into the fold following a stoppage loss rather than a razor-thin loss to one of the sport’s best fighters, which came soon after a razor-thin draw to the same man.
Golovkin has had 40 fights so far in his pro career. The DAZN deal he negotiated calls for six fights in total. DAZN could be forgiven for protecting their sizeable investment in the Kazakh by handling their 37-year-old star name with kid gloves. Golovkin should dispatch Rolls with the same of level of ferocity he used on Dominic Wade. If Rolls hangs around long enough to show us things we didn’t already know about Golovkin then that could be a bad look.